Massage Techniques

What types of body work technique do you use in your treatments and why did you choose to learn those?
Over the years Georgia and I have studied many different massage techniques. Deep tissue techniques like trigger point, shiatsu, and neuromuscular therapy. Softer techniques like myofascial release and cranial-sacral therapy. Stretching techniques like PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) and Thai massage.

With hundreds of massage techniques it is my thought that each one has worked for someone, somewhere, at some time. It is a matter of matching a technique with the particular client and with the therapist. For example, some therapists are just naturally more aggressive than others and will do better with the more direct techniques. However, no matter how nice a hammer you may have, not all problems are nails.

It has been my experience that there is seldom one answer to all problems. I like having options in how to approach a problem. Not only is each client’s situation unique, but each client has different needs at different times. If the client is particularly sensitive invasive techniques will be counter-productive. If the area is hardened light techniques could be ineffective. There are also situations where you can’t position the client in a way that makes a particular technique even possible.

I would describe both my and Georgia’s basic technique as a combination of deep Swedish massage and Travell Trigger Point Therapy. We will usually start with these unless another technique is indicated or the client requests a particular technique or type of massage. With over 20 years’ experience each we have had lots of opportunity to determine not only what works but also how efficient the process will likely be.

When you do massage how deep do you work and what kind of pressure is required in order to affect results?
I often use the phrase “my time versus your pain” to illustrate the general belief that deeper, more aggressive techniques will fix a problem faster. In some cases this is true but as with all generalities this too is not always true.

The purpose of massage is to manipulate muscle; it is not a skin treatment. The intent is aimed deep enough to reach the muscle layers. The amount of physical pressure can vary from 5 grams (about the weight of a nickel) to all that you can stand and all the variety of pressures can work.

I think the basic question is does massage have to hurt to work. Simply put the answer is no, it doesn’t have to hurt. On a scale of 1 to 10 we usually work in the area of 5 to 8. It is important to know what the level 10 means. Level 10 is where you begin to flinch. It does not mean the most you can stand or the point where you reflexively withdraw. We do not give out prizes for pain tolerance nor does it usually lead to a quicker or better fix.

We do look for sore spots and press on them. There will be some discomfort but should feel more like getting an itch scratched or good pain rather than something sharp and unpleasant. You should always exercise your right to control the massage experience and this includes not only how much pressure but also how much discomfort you have.

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